Funding US Public Education

The US Census recently released data on public education spending.  Press release on the data.

At bottom is Utah with $6,212.  Washington State is 30th with $9,483.  Tops is NYC district at a whopping $19,770 with New York State #1 with $19,076.

Eight out of nine states in the Northeast region of the U.S. were ranked among the top 15 in current spending per student in 2011. The remaining state in the northeast, Maine, was ranked 17th. Out of the 16 states with the lowest per student spending, 15 were in the South and West regions. The remaining state, South Dakota, was in the Midwest.

Keep in mind that the national average is $10,560. Our state does not even fund to the national average.

Also, understand that figure is all the money put together, from all sources, and then averaged.  Not every student is funded at that level.  Washington kicks in about $5200 per student (according to the Charter Commission meeting discussion I was at recently).

Also, for per student spending as a percentage of per capita income, Washington is still 46th.

The Census also reports that for the first time in nearly four decades public education spending has decreased.  

Meanwhile, Education Week is reporting that Minnesota's governor has signed a new biennial K-12 budget for $485M MORE than last year and including funding all-day kindergarten statewide.

In practical terms, the budget Dayton signed increases per-pupil spending by $78 for the 2013-14 academic year, and by $80 the year after that, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

In addition, the $15.7 billion education funding plan for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years approved by Dayton, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party (the state's affiliate of the Democratic Party), removes the graduation exam high school students must currently take to receive diplomas. (On a side note, Minnesota is one of the states that has experienced problems with computer-based testing this year.) The Associated Press reports that when Dayton signed the bill May 22, he stressed not so much the importance of increased funding itself, but the damage that inadequate funding does: "More money for education doesn't absolutely guarantee success but less money for education absolutely guarantees failure."

And that is the answer to anyone who says we already spend enough.  Spending wisely and being accountable are at the top of the list.  But no we don't spend enough and until that changes, we can keep wringing our hands and wondering why we don't do better. 


CT said…
Utah's motto - stack 'em deep and teach 'em cheap.
Anonymous said…
My sister's kids attend summit academy (charter) in draper, ut. Even with less spending per student, her kids are getting a far superior education to what's provided at SPS. I think $$ is important, but it's not everything.

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